National Park Service names first superintendent of New Philadelphia National Historic Site near Barry

Christopher Collins

Christopher Collins | Photo courtesy of National Park Service

OMAHA, Neb. — The National Park Service announced Thursday the selection of Christopher Collins as the superintendent of the newly established New Philadelphia National Historic Site located near Barry, IIl.

Collins is currently the superintendent at Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park in Missouri. He will assume his new role at New Philadelphia later this spring.

“He has a proven track record of being a great community steward and partner and is seasoned in developing new units of the National Park System into successful operations,” NPS Midwest Regional Director Bert Frost said in a press release. “These qualities make him well suited to set New Philadelphia up for a promising future, and I know Chris is up for the challenge.”

The New Philadelphia National Historic Site was established to commemorate the history of early 19th century Black pioneers in Illinois. This was the first township known to be officially registered by an African American. It became the 424th park of the National Park System in December 2022. 

Collins brings more than 20 years of National Park Service experience. He began his career working at Glacier National Park in Montana. He would go on to lead information technology for eight parks in the Upper Columbia Basin Network and serve as the administrative officer at the Nez Perce National Historical Park in Idaho.

He also served as the chief of business and commercial services at Indiana Dunes National Park, where he was responsible for leading a group of administrative professionals responsible for Pullman National Monument, Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, Hopewell Culture National Historical Park and William Howard Taft National Historic Site in addition to Indiana Dunes.

He took on his assignment in 2019 as the first permanent superintendent at Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park, where he continued to establish and grow that operation into a successful, fully operational unit of the National Park System.

“I am looking forward to working with the community and our partners to tell the story of this extraordinary place and fulfill the enabling legislation that has made New Philadelphia possible,” Collins said. “I am so impressed by the commitment of the surrounding community, including so many local advocates who have worked tirelessly to ensure the preservation of the special history that happened here.” 

Collins graduated from Pittsburg State (Kan.) University with degrees in French language, literarure and history in 1999. He graduated in 2003 with a degree in business administration in information systems. He enjoys hiking, traveling and home renovation, and he is a self-proclaimed foodie. Collins, his partner Jim and cat Lucy look forward to their new adventure.

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